Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Electricity Sector Reforms

1 - When was the Electricity Act, 1999 enacted?

The Electricity Act, 1999 was enacted on 1st November 1999. The Act is the legal framework through which government intends to address the country’s power problems to ensure that power is adequate, safe, reliable and affordable.

2 - Why the need for Power Sector Reform?

Prior to the reforms in the power sector industry was a monopoly run by a single government owned utility company handling generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.  Over the years, this single utility company Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) was unbundled into three successor companies namely: Uganda Electricity Generation Company (UEGCL), Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. After creating the above three (3) companies, the Electricity y Authority (ERA) was enacted to oversee the UEB successor Companies in order to address the power problems that were faced by the sector.


ERA’s Mandate

3 - What does the term Power Systems mean?

All aspects related to generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity which includes one or more of the following.

  • Generating stations
  • Transmission or main transmission lines
  • Sub-stations
  • Tie-lines· Load dispatch activities·
  • Mains or distributing mains
  • Electric supply lines
  • Overhead lines
  • Service lines
  • Works

4 - What does the term Distribution licensee mean?

Distribution licensee means a licensee, authorized to operate and maintain a distribution system for supplying electricity to the consumers in the approved area of supply.

5 - What does the term Dedicated Transmission lines mean?

Dedicated Transmission lines means any electric supply line from point to transmission point which is required for the purpose of connecting electric lines or electric plants or generating stations or any transmission lines or substation or generating stations or load centre.

6 - Is the Electricity Act 1999 functional to the whole of Uganda?

Yes, The Electricity Act 1999 is functional to the whole of Uganda, plus other Regulations governing the Electricity supply in the country. (The Electricity Grid Code, Electricity Quality of Service Standards, Safety Code)

7 - What is the composition of ERA Secretariat?

The ERA Secretariat consists of the Chief Executive Officer as the head of the Secretariat managing the day to day management of the secretariat and 4 directorates are as follows:

  • Legal and Regulatory Affairs
  • Finance and Administrative Services.
  • Technical Regulation
  • Economic Regulation

8 - Who supervises the secretariat?

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development appoints the Authority .The Authority consists of 5 Authority Members (Board Members) with the Authority Chairman being the head of the Authority. The Secretariat is accountable to the Authority Chairman and his members, who are also accountable to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development who issues directives and is the policy maker. 

9 - How Do I Contact ERA?

ERA has its offices at Kampala only, where all the activities are carried out. ERA has no regional offices.

The offices are located at:
ERA House, Plot 15 Shimoni Road, Nakasero Hill.
P.O. Box 10332, Kampala.
Tel.+256 312 260166. 0757 341646,
Consumer Hotline: 0200 506000
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: +256 641624
Website: www.era.or.ug
Facebook: Electricity y Authority
Twitter: ERA_Uganda
WhatsApp/SMS: 0776 188188

10 - What are the roles of ERA?

The roles of ERA are to ensure that:

  • The electricity market is efficient;
  • Prices charged are fair;
  • Access to electricity is maximized both in urban and rural areas;
  • Rights of the customers are protected;
  • Electricity is adequate, reliable and safe;
  • Ensure that the there is a leveled playing field for the customers, operators, investors and intending investors.
  • Advises Government on which areas require investors
  • Ensures that the quality of standards and other regulations are not violated by the operators etc.

11 - What are the Functions of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA)?

ERA licenses competent operators and owners of Electricity Companies in Uganda’s electricity supply industry.

ERA also:

  • Review and set electricity tariffs, prices, charges and other terms of supply of electricity after analysis and crucial stakeholder consultation.
  • Supervise all power companies and ensure they comply with terms and conditions of licenses issued to them.
  • Advise the Energy Minister regarding need for electricity projects.
  • Approve equitable prices leading to fair return on investments and sustainability of electricity supply and ensure reasonable prices for end-users.

12 - Who is ERA and what does ERA really do?

The Electricity Authority (ERA) is a statutory body established in the year 2000 in accordance with the Electricity Act 1999 [Chapter] 145 [Laws of Uganda]. To regulate the generation, transmission, distribution, sale, export and import of electrical energy in Uganda.

ERA can be compared to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) which regulates telecommunications in Uganda or Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), National Environment Management Authority etc.

Vision

To be an effective regulator that promotes safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable electricity supply.

Mission

To regulate the electricity industry in accordance with applicable laws, policies, standards and international best proactive

Core Values

  • Professionalism
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Transparency & accountability
  • Equal and fair opportunity
  • Stakeholder sensitivity
  • Teamwork

Complaints Handling Procedures

13 - What is the Regulator’s rule on Mass Disconnections?

The Regulator has put to stop mass disconnection where a group of customers are disconnected just because of a few defaulters, which leads to wrongful disconnections. Note that those who owe past overdue bills would be subject to disconnections. However, there are procedures for doing that. The Utility Company issues a bill with a notice of 14 days to customers to clear their bills, then issue a disconnection notice for 5 days, to all a customer to clear then 2 days before disconnection. 

Each customer is treated as an individual customer unless if they are bulk metered customers sharing one meter, then they will be disconnected as a mass disconnection due to the nature of their connection. Otherwise no customer individual customer is likely to be disconnected due to a neighbour’s failure to clear his or her bill, if one has their individual meter and account.

14 - What effort is the Regulator making to ensure uninterrupted power supply?

The Regulator has established Rules and Regulations for private investors, and has to date licensed up to more than 14 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who are distributing, generating and selling power to the areas where the grid does not reach and some who are near the grid also sell the excess power to the main grid which has improved on the quality and reliability of electricity supply in Uganda.

15 - What do the distribution companies say about the issue of estimated or overcharged bills?

The Authority has addressed estimated billing by setting the regulations and Quality of Service standards with the minimum number of days or period within which one can continue to receive estimated billings but not exceeding three (3) months. The Authority’s Regulation on Performance Standards for Distribution Companies, is stipulated in Grid Code 2003. Section 12 Clause 12.1.1 of the Grid Code 2003 recommends three months or 90 days after which the distribution company must find every means possible to read the customer’s meter for actual consumed energy if the premises are metered.

If over charged as a result of an error by a licensee, the licensee shall rectify the anomaly at the next billing as stated under Section 12 Clause 12.5 of the Grid Code 2003.

16 - Are the distribution offices located all over the country?

The electricity distribution zones under the Umeme Ltd/ National Grid are divided into twenty five (25) Umeme districts: across the most of the geographical towns of Uganda except a few areas where the grid does not rich like West Nile and other parts in the North.

Umeme Ltd is the main distribution company in-charge of the main grid with 95% of Uganda’s electricity network. 

There are also other players operating in different parts of the country namely:

  • Kyegegwa Rural Electricity Cooperative Society Ltd.
  • Bundibugyo Energy and Cooperative Society in areas of Bundibugyo and parts of Fort Portal.
  • Kilembe Investments Ltd in Kasese area
  • Pader-Abim Community Multipurpose Electric Co-operative Society Limited in the North in Pader and Abim areas
  • UEDCL off grids in the north and west, North East.
  • WENRECo in the West Nile Region.
  • Kinyara for own use and grid
  • Kakikira for own use and the grid.
  • KCCL for own use and the grid and many others

17 - If I am not satisfied with the resolution of the ERA where do I go?

You have a right to escalate your complaint to the Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT) which is the electricity court, under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development located at 4th Floor, Amber House, Pilkington Road, Kampala.

If you are not satisfied with the resolution of the EDT you have a right to proceed to courts of Law as deemed necessary.

18 - If I am not satisfied with the distribution company’s resolution, what do I do?

You can contact the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).

On Telephone number 0200 506 000, SMS and WhatsApp on 0776 188 188, walk in at our offices, send an Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Facebook, twitter etc.
Remember to send the following details to enable the responsible officer attend to you:
Name :
Account No.:
Telephone:
Area/address of residence/ Distribution area or company that supply your Nature of complaint for redress.

19 - I am not happy about my service in my home area. How should I channel my Complaint?

You will need to make a written, telephone, walk-in, SMS, WhatsApp, Webmail or email complaint at the nearest distribution office or call the Umeme Customer Call Centre [on 0800 185 185] or the electricity distribution company serving you. They are expected to resolve your problem according to the Quality of Service Standards 2015, depending on the nature of complaint.

20 - What redress mechanisms are available for consumers?

The Authority has established a procedure to ensure that consumer complaints are expeditiously handled by the Distribution Companies. The requirement is that each Distribution Company must set up a Customer Care office to receive, register and attend to customer complaints to resolution and submit a report to the Authority on a quarterly basis as a requirement under the Quality of Service Standards 2015.

Customer Care offices of the Distribution Companies are responsible for the complaints of consumers as a first call point. The new initiative of the Authority to encourage service providers/licensees to create a customer service attitude in the sector has improved as compared to the previous years.

In addition, the Authority has established a Consumer Public Affairs Unit for hearing and resolving residual consumer complaints upon appeal on every Distribution Licensee. A complainant must first report any grievance to the Customer Care offices of the Distribution Company before seeking redress from the Authority or the Electricity Disputes Tribunal.

21 - What are the obligations of electricity consumers?

Electricity Consumer must:

  1. Pay bills for electricity consumed
  2. Pay a security deposit requested by the electricity distribution company and other requirements for connection stipulated by ERA
  3. Vigilant protection of electrical installations
  4. Cordiality towards electricity workers
  5. Customer (User) compliance to the requirements of the Grid code 2003

22 - What are the rights of electricity consumers?

The Electricity Consumers have a:

  1. Right to have electricity upon application
  2. Right to have a meter to measure his/her supply
  3. Right to a refund when over billed
  4. Right to properly installed working meter
  5. Right to log complaints when dissatisfied
  6. Right to information on scheduled power interruptions.
  7. Right to transparent billing
  8. Right to due process prior to disconnection of electric service
  9. Right to be notified prior to disconnection
  10. Right to reconnection of electricity supply after disconnection upon payment.
  11. Right to file complaints before ERA/Electricity Disputes Tribunal or other courts of law.

23 - What are the individual rights of consumers?

A consumer has:

  1. The right to safety
  2. The right to basic need.
  3. The right to be informed
  4. The right to choose
  5. The right to be heard
  6. The right to redress
  7. The right to consumer education
  8. The right to a healthy environment

24 - What is ERA doing to protect customers?

ERA has the following for consumers:

  1. The Authority has a fully established unit for consumer Affairs. Handling consumer concerns, complaints, sensitization/consumer education materials etc.
  2. The following consumer protection measures are in place which include: Customer Complaints Handling Procedures;
  3. Approved Quality of Service Standards for Distribution companies
  4. ERA signed a Memorandum of Understating with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards(UNBS) to ensure that the quality of electrical materials/appliances/cables imported in the country meet the required standards, customers who would like their meters to be tested by independent bodies can take their meters to UNBS for testing.
  5. The Authority has embarked on numerous public enlightenment campaigns under Consumer sensitization/awareness programs enlightening consumers on their rights and obligations.
  6. The Authority has established a number of regulations to aid the day today management of the electricity supply (The Electricity Grid Code 2003, Safety Code 2003, Quality of Service Code 2003 and Quality of Service Standards 2015) which guides the Distribution, Generation and Transmission of electricity supply in the sector).

Tariffs

25 - Is Umeme Authorized to Charge a Customer Forex Exchange Adjustment, Inflation Adjustment and Fuel Adjustment?

The adjustment of the retail tariff for movement in inflation, exchange rate and fuel prices has always been imbedded in the tariff methodology. The difference is that previously the impact of the adjustments for the macroeconomic factors above was not separately shown on the electricity bill.   In order to ensure/encourage transparency, the adjustment factors are shown separately on the bill.

In 2005 the Government of Uganda made a decision to subsidize electricity consumers. By 2011, the subsidy levels had increased to unsustainable levels that adversely affected the creditworthiness of the operators in the Electricity Supply Industry and eroded private sector investment and confidence in the electricity sector.

In 2012, Government made a decision to reduce direct subsidization of the electricity consumers and instead invested in large hydro power generation projects and transmission infrastructure. Between 2005 and 2012, the retail tariff was being adjusted for movement in inflation, exchange rate and fuel prices but the increase/decrease in the costs as a result of changes in these macroeconomic parameters being absorbed by Government of Uganda through provision of subsidies as the retail tariff remained relatively unchanged.

26 - How much do I pay for electricity?

The Electricity Regulatory Authority sets the Tariffs for consumers.  These tariffs are set in different categories [domestic, commercial, light industrial, street lighting and large industrial).

These tariffs are likely to charge from time to time, but you can inquire from your supplier to be updated on the current tariffs depending on the category you fall under.

27 - What is Multi Year Tariff Order?

Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) is a methodology used for determining tariffs across the electricity value chain. MYTO sets a 15 year tariff path with bi-annual minor reviews (taking cognizance macroeconomic indicators such as inflation rates, cost of fuel and exchange rate) and a 5 yearly major reviews.

Since the change in the Government electricity subsidization policy, and in order to ensure financial sustainability of the Electricity Supply Industry, the Electricity Regulatory Authority through consultation with stakeholders established a quarterly tariff review methodology. The methodology is updated every year and is available on our website; www.era.or.ug. The quarterly adjustment of the retail tariff has been in force since January 2014.


Reliability & Billing

28 - Why do I get exaggerated bills? What is ERA doing to stop this?

These are bills that are given to a customer that does not reflect the correct consumption of the customer’s consumption. Such bills usually come in the form of estimated bills where the electricity distribution company gives the customer an estimate that far exceeds what that customer could possibly have consumed within the billing period.

ERA as guided by the Electricity Grid Code 2003 only allows the distribution company to estimate the customer’s bill for only 3 months.

All electricity distribution companies are not supposed to estimate the customer’s bill for more than 3 consecutive months. This is to ensure that the customers pay for only what they consume.

29 - If I want an Electricity bill printout, what should I do?

If you want an explanation of all the things that make up your printed bill for a pre-paid bill or  post-paid bill contact your service provider by either visiting their offices or call on the customer care (Hoteline:0800 185 185 for Umeme customers only) or any other distributors hotline.

30 - What is a Fixed Monthly Charge and why must I pay it?

The fixed charge (service fee) is part of a customer’s electricity bill that is charged on a monthly basis. The fixed charge is intended to allow for the recovery of the costs associated with the fixed or permanent investments (e.g. poles, cables, transformers etc.) needed to generate, transmit and distribute electricity. The fixed charge is a universal best practice and is not peculiar to a particular country.  It is to be borne by electricity customers at all times, once they are connected to supply. It is not tied to consumption.

31 - What effort is the Regulator making to ensure uninterrupted power supply?

ERA has introduced Quality of Service Standards for distribution companies that provide for minimum service levels for outages and in future plans to introduce penalties in the event of non-compliance.

32 - What effort is the Regulator making to ensure uninterrupted power supply?

ERA has introduced Quality of Service Standards for distribution companies that provide for minimum service levels for outages and in future plans to introduce penalties in the event of non-compliance.


Metering

33 - Can Umeme update the public on the distribution of the led bulbs that were distributed recently?

Yes. Umeme will share the update on the distribution of led bulbs as requested by the public.  This could be published in the national media paper or in a press release.

34 - Is there a possibility of having a low tariff for the Small Scales industry?

The tariff for industrial customers is already lower than the domestic tariffs.  You can only benefit from the low tariff by controlling the timing for your production to produce most of your products during the off-pick hours which are 12:00a.m.to 6:00a.m when most people are asleep and are consuming less power.  Power rates are cheaper during off pick hours.

37 - Does ERA have approved set standards for Umeme like the maximum time without supply for customers, which Umeme should follow?

ERA has developed Quality of Service standards that have set minimum levels on power outages which the distribution companies have to adhere to and going forward ERA plans to introduce penalties to ensure compliance.

38 - Why does ERA allow Umeme to test their meters?

It is the mandate of the licensee and is a requirement in the Grid Code and the Quality of Service Code.

39 - Why do we have frequent power outages in the country and what is the way forward?

In the past, the distribution network of Umeme and other licensees has been very old and little investment has been made to ensure that replacement of old infrastructure is done for the network to be reliable. Effort has been made by Umeme with the ERA directing the company to invest in restoration of the old network to improve reliability of the network. ERA has also developed minimum quality of service standards for a standard has been set for outages and restoration times. The licensees are required to report on this outages to ERA and ERA intends to introduce penalties for non-compliance with the set standards.

40 - Why are the tariffs high in Uganda?

ERA ensures that the tariff charged to customers is fair and affordable at the same time the distributor also has to earn a return on his investments made in order to be able to continue supply the power to end-users.

41 - Why are Umeme meters not labeled with the sticker of the (Uganda National Bureau of Standards, UNBS) standard verifying entity?

There is a regulation regarding the testing and certification of meters under UNBS. In the interim, UNBS has been relying on international test certificates from accredited meter test labs for the meters that licensees are using to bill customers which the licensees submit to Umeme and ERA for approval.

However, a new regulation on meter testing has recently been developed by UNBS and going forward, it shall be a requirement that all meters shall have a UNBS sticker. 

ERA has signed a memorandum of understanding with UNBS to label all distribution meters after tested with them with UNBS Stickers.

42 - Why does Umeme test/calibrate their-own meters?

There are two issues here; calibration and testing. Calibration is the adjustment of meter parameters to ensure functional technical parameters are within specifications.

Umeme does not calibrate meters; these meters are only calibrated at the meter manufacturing factory and are designed to last for a specific period of time (i.e. 7 – 10 years)  after which they need to be replaced.

Testing a meter is the inspection of a meter for its accuracy to ensure that it is within the set tolerances. Accuracy must be within ±2%.

Umeme as a licensee is required to have the facilities to test a meter and is the first point of call when one has a query with a meter. Once the customer is not comfortable with the test results, he can then request for a test from UNBS/ERA for comparison of results. 

Should the customer prefer an independent entity to test their meter, the customer will have to incur the costs involved at that entity’s set fees.  ERA and UNBS have a memorandum of understanding regarding independent meter testing if need occurs but the customer pays at UNBS’ set fee.

Once a customer has requested Umeme to test his meter, Umeme charges a standard fee for meter testing at Shs.5000. This money is refundable to the customer if the meter passes the test.

43 - When will the bulbs be given or availed up country?

The current phase of distributed led bulbs was targeting domestic loads in high density areas which contribute to the increase in peak loading hence the distribution in Kampala. The primary role of the led dissemination exercise was to reduce the peak demand with the other effect of energy efficiency and efficient technology use. The distribution of led bulbs will extend upcountry to high density areas to begin with.

44 - How will the government benefit from the power saved by the led bulbs?

The energy saved will be used to cover other areas that need more supply at night and will reduce on the rationing of supply to large consumers.

45 - Why do you want to save the energy?

The saved energy will address the electricity supply-Demand gap in the short to medium term.

46 - What were the criteria for distributing the led bulbs? Why did ERA concentrate in the central region alone? Why not in the north or East or any other part of the country?

The led bulbs were given out as a Demand Side Management measure to reduce on the consumption at night on the high consuming feeders.

The 100 watts bulb (ordinary bulb) consumes one kilowatt of electricity if used for 10 hours as compared to a 8 watts led bulb which consumes the same amount in 30 hours with a brighter light emission.

47 - If transformers are faulty, are residents responsible for its provision and installation?

No. Faulty transformers are supposed to be replaced by the electricity distribution company within 5 days of the official complaint being made. The electricity distribution company is responsible for such replacements or repairs.

48 - How do I get a pre-paid meter?

If a customer wants a pre-paid meter, he or she should notify the electricity distribution company (Umeme Ltd and other distribution Cos), and the company should then ensure that the meter is provided free of charge in exchange with the existing postpaid meter.

Or for a new connection, a connection fee of Ugx. 98,000 will be charged upon completion of survey by the distribution Company (with the exception of the necessary costs associated with installation).


Contact us

Electricity Regulatory Authority 
ERA House, Plot 15 Shimoni Road, Nakasero 
P.O.Box 10332, Kampala, Uganda
Telephone: +256 414 341852, +256 393-260166
Complaints Hotline: +256 200 506000 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Copyright © 2018 ERA - Electricity Regulatory Authority. All Rights Reserved

Go to top